Parlez Vous Dragée?

One of the treats I learned to make this week was dragées (pronounced drah-zhay), which I was told meant something about dredging nuts through chocolate, in French.

So I’m thinking, well, there’s a nut and then some sort of candy coating and a chocolate covering, and what we’re going to have is basically an ultra fancy M&M, except probably 37 times better.

What an understatement…

Dragées start out at raw nuts — in this case almonds — that are cooked in sugar. While the sugar caramelizes, the nuts get toasted (as in cooked, not drunk), which gives you a flavor that’s significantly different than either caramelized sugar or toasted almonds on its own.

That’s just a start, though. You cool them off and seperate them, and then coat them with tempered chocolate, which is to say you stir them in the bowl until your arms is about ready to fall off.

But not all the chocolate — exactly one-third of it. And you use one-third of it because you go through that process three times. It just doesn’t work to do it all at once. Don’t ask me why.

Just when you think you’re all done (at this point you’ve lost and regrown your arm three times), you sprinkle some cocoa powder on it and stir them again.

I’ve never had anything like these. They’re amazing. Apparently they’re served in certain parts of France only on special occasions, like weddings and christenings, probably because they’re so much work. But even having done the work myself, they are totally worth it. 

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